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DUE 17-001

Dear Colleague Letter: Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR), Division of Undergraduate Education (DUE) - Employment Opportunity for Program Director Positions (Open Until Filled)

December 12, 2016

Dear Colleague:

Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR), Division of Undergraduate Education (DUE) at the National Science Foundation announces a nationwide search to fill a number of temporary Program Director positions.

Formal consideration of applications will begin January 16, 2017, and will continue until selections are made.

Program Directors have an unparalleled opportunity and responsibility to ensure NSF-funded research is at the forefront of advancing fundamental knowledge. In support of that, Program Directors are responsible for extensive interaction with academic research communities and industry, as well as interaction with other Federal agencies that may lead to development of interagency collaborations. Within this context, Program Directors solicit, receive and review research and education proposals, make funding recommendations, administer awards, and undertake interaction with research communities in these fields. They are also responsible for service to Foundation-wide activities and initiatives that together accomplish NSF's strategic goals to: 1) Transform the Frontiers of Science and Engineering, 2) Stimulate Innovation and Address Societal Needs through Research and Education, and 3) Excel as a Federal Science Agency. The position requires a commitment to high standards of intellectualism and ethical conduct, a considerable breadth of interest, receptivity to new ideas, a strong sense of fairness, good judgment, and a high degree of personal integrity.

EHR is responsible for programs that strengthen STEM education at all levels and in all settings across the U.S. in order to 1) support the development of a diverse, well-prepared workforce of scientists, engineers and educators who work to enhance the quality of life, health and prosperity of all citizens; and 2) promote overall science literacy of the public. DUE manages a range of grant programs that constitute a comprehensive approach to improving science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education at two and four year colleges and universities. This approach strengthens links to the pre-K to 12 sector through a commitment to pre-service teacher preparation and professional growth of practicing teachers, and it also funds and leverages the findings of education research. Collectively, DUE's programs pursue a number of complementary objectives:

  • To support the research and development of innovative educational materials, courses, curricula, pedagogical techniques, and assessment instruments and methods;
  • To stimulate and enable research on undergraduate STEM learning and institutional change;
  • To promote scientific literacy;
  • To advance professional development for faculty and current pre-K to 12 teachers;
  • To engage institutions and industry to collaborate on workforce development;
  • To provide opportunities for institutions to award scholarships to students and investigate the circumstances which can explain for whom and under what conditions the attendant curricular and co-curricular measures taken by an institution prove effective in retaining and graduating the scholarship recipients.

DUE's programs and related leadership efforts focus on promoting high quality college level STEM education research and development, along with increasing the diversity of students and faculty and fostering collaboration. More information about DUE programs may be found at

NSF Program Directors bear the primary responsibility for carrying out the agency's overall mission: to support innovative and merit-reviewed activities in basic research and education that contribute to the Nation's technical strength, security, and welfare. Discharging this responsibility requires knowledge in the appropriate disciplines, as well as knowledge and experience with research on educational innovations. Program Directors should also possess a commitment to high standards, a considerable breadth of interest and receptivity to new ideas, good judgment, a strong sense of fairness, and a high degree of personal integrity.

Those selected will coordinate the management of undergraduate education proposals and awards in DUE programs, and have the opportunity to engage in leadership activities that promote the health of the larger STEM education enterprise. Successful candidates will participate in all phases of the solicitation, review, and management of proposals submitted to assigned programs, and conduct post-award monitoring of funded projects, including site visits and review of annual and final reports. They will also represent the division at professional meetings and conferences; conduct analyses and prepare reports and internal budget plans for programs and other EHR and DUE activities; and contribute to the Foundation-wide coordination of scholarly activities for undergraduate STEM education. Program Directors will also provide leadership in broadening participation in STEM disciplines and in undergraduate STEM education, and represent the division in cross-directorate and interagency initiatives related to undergraduate STEM education, including measures to keep both the content and teaching approaches current with contemporary advances in the STEM disciplines and recent findings in STEM education research.

Program Directors with expertise in a variety of disciplines, including Chemistry, Cognitive/Learning Science, Computer Science, Engineering, Higher Education/Organizational Development, Mathematics, and Physics are needed for appointments beginning in summer 2017. In addition to STEM disciplinary expertise and undergraduate teaching experience, DUE is especially interested in applicants who also bring experience with one or more of the following areas: cyber learning, STEM education research, interdisciplinary approaches to undergraduate curriculum, pre-K to 12 teacher preparation or professional development, teaching in community college, experience with assessment and project/program evaluation, or institutional change efforts.


Applicants should have a Ph.D. in the relevant STEM discipline, plus after award of the Ph.D. or attainment of equivalent expertise, six or more years of successful research, research administration, and/or managerial experience pertinent to the position. Candidates must be knowledgeable about undergraduate education in STEM in order to participate in planning programs to improve undergraduate education. In addition, candidates must have sufficient teaching experience to determine whether a proposed project is likely to meet the needs of students and faculty. Also desirable are knowledge of the general scientific community, current literature and research, and strong skills in written and oral communication. All appointees are expected to function effectively both within specific programs and as part of a team, contributing to and coordinating with offices throughout the Foundation and with other Federal and state government agencies and private sector organizations.

The position may be filled with one of the following appointment options:

Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) Assignment: Individuals eligible for an IPA assignment with a Federal agency include employees of State and local government agencies or institutions of higher education, Indian tribal governments, and other eligible organizations in instances where such assignments would be of mutual benefit to the organizations involved. Initial assignments under IPA provisions may be made for a period up to two years, with a possible extension for up to an additional two-year period. The individual remains an employee of the home institution and NSF provides the negotiated funding toward the assignee's salary and benefits. Initial IPA assignments are made for a one-year period and may be extended by mutual agreement. For additional information regarding IPA positions, please visit the NSF website at:

Visiting Scientist, Engineer or Educator (VSEE) Appointment: A VSEE appointment will be made under the Excepted Authority of the NSF Act. Visiting Scientists are on non-paid leave status from their home institution and placed on the NSF payroll as Federal employees. NSF withholds Social Security taxes and pays the home institution's contributions to maintain retirement and fringe benefits (i.e., health benefits and life insurance), either directly to the home institution or to the carrier. Appointments are usually made for one year and may be extended for an additional year by mutual agreement.

Temporary Excepted Service Appointment: Appointment to this position will be made under the Excepted Authority of the NSF Act. Candidates who do not have civil service status or reinstatement eligibility will not obtain civil service status if selected. Candidates currently in the competitive service will be required to waive competitive civil service rights if selected. Usual civil service benefits (retirement, health benefits and life insurance) are applicable for appointments of more than one year. Temporary appointments may not exceed three years.

For additional information on NSF's rotational programs, please see "Programs for Scientists, Engineers, and Educators" on the NSF website at: and

Applications will be accepted from US Citizens. Recent changes in Federal Appropriations Law require Non-Citizens to meet certain eligibility criteria to be considered. Therefore, Non-Citizens must certify eligibility by signing and attaching this Citizenship Affidavit to their application. Permanent US residents applying for Temporary Excepted Service Appointments or Visiting Scientist, Engineer or Educator (VSEE) appointments are required to provide documentation at the time of application confirming they are actively seeking U.S. citizenship. Non-citizens who do not provide documentation will be considered only for the IPA program.We also ask that you complete and submit the Applicant Survey Form. This will help NSF to ensure that our recruiting efforts are attracting a diverse candidate pool; it will be used for statistical purposes only.

NSF is relocating to Alexandria, Virginia. In late summer of 2017, NSF will begin the transition from its current location in Arlington, Virginia to 2415 Eisenhower Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22314. The new location is adjacent to a Metro station (Eisenhower Avenue on the Yellow Line) and there is ample parking in the area. There are several amenities nearby, such as restaurants, hotels, and shops.

Individuals interested in applying for a Program Director position should send a current CV and statement of interest to the Division of Undergraduate Education via email to with "Program Director Position" in the subject line. Applications may also be sent to:

Division of Undergraduate Education
National Science Foundation
4201 Wilson Blvd., Suite 835
Arlington, VA 22230
Phone: 703-292-8670
Fax: 703-292-9015